What is staking and how does it work?

Maciej Zieliński

23 Mar 2022
What is staking and how does it work?

Many people see staking as an alternative to mining which requires technical knowledge. It is an activity where you don't have to own and look after complex equipment, but only store funds in a specific cryptocurrency wallet. This ensures the safety and smooth operation of a given blockchain network. Staking crypto is to put it simply, blocking cryptocurrencies, in order to receive awards and many benefits in the form of units of a given cryptocurrency. Most projects allow for staking of digital assets directly from a cryptocurrency portfolio. There are also exchanges that provide a staking service to users as part of their business offer. One such exchange is, for example, Binance. In order to fully understand staking wee need to understand how Proof of Stake (PoS) and Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) work.

What is Proof of Stake system (PoS)?

The Proof of Stake systemand staking crypto is a consensus mechanism which allows blockchains to save energy while maintaining proper decentralization. This consensus mechanism is designed to address the vulnerabilities and problems that exist in the Bitcoin network algorithm.

In the Bitcoin network, miners compete for who will be the fastest to solve a mathematical puzzle. The entity that is able to do so in the shortest time adds the block and receives remuneration in the form of BTC. The problem itself is related to the multiplicity of arbitrary calculations and the electricity required to do this, which is considered to be a major cost-negative.

It is worth stressing that there is a way to maintain network decentralization without incurring the high computing costs connected with solving puzzles. The solution is the Proof Stake, whose primary purpose is to validate blocks and use an "internal" investment (own cryptocurrency) instead of "external" investments (energy, crypto mining machines). Network users may “block” their coins. Afterwards, at different intervals, the protocol randomly assigns the right to approve the block to one of the users. The chance to be chosen doesn't depend on who creates a block or how quickly puzzles are solved. However, it depends on how many coins we are blocking. That is, the more wecapital we devote to this, the higher the chance we will be chosen. Another benefit of POS is that attacking a blockchain network is much more expensive because an effective attack would require owning at least 51% of all existing cryptocurrencies of a given blockchain. Of course, the cheaper and more accessible a given cryptocurrency is, the easier such an attack becomes. Hacking also has a greater impact on PoS management models than on PoW (proof of work). When a given network is hacked, miners lose more than just their cryptocurrency; they lose their place on the platform. This is a major problem that has led to the creation of the Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS).

What is Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS)?

Proof of Stake model also has an alternative option that was created in 2014 by Daniel Larimer. The method is referred to as Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS). It was first tested as part of the BitShares blockchain, but shortly thereafter other networks started using this model as well.

DPoS

The DPoS activity can be compared to shares held in a company. This method allows users to treat their cryptocurrency as votes whose force is proportional to their number. These votes are used to select delegates whose jobis to manage a blockchain on behalf of their constituents, which ensures consensus and security.

The strength of each stakeholder (cryptocurrency owner) is determined by the amount of cryptocurrency held. The advantage of the DPoS is, for example, that consensus can be reached with a small number of validation nodes. This improves overall network performance.

How does crypto staking work?

How does crypto staking works? Remember that the Proof of Stake model (PoS) and Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) algorithms require staking to function properly. Participants who block larger amounts increase the likelihood that they will be selected as the next validator in the block. This behavior allows blocks to be produced without the need for complex and expensive mining equipment, such as the ASIC system.

It should be noted that mining cryptocurrencies by means of ASIC systems requires large investments in equipment and that staking has only one requirement, which is investing in a given cryptocurrency and freezing one’s capital. Staking may at first glance remind you of depositing money in a bank, but in this case, frozen assets ensure that the blockchain network functions properly and interest is calculated in cryptocurrencies.

In addition, you should be aware that every PoS blockchain has a specific staking currency. There are networks that use a two-token system where prizes are paid out using a separate token (for example, you are freezing cryptocurrency "x", receiving the cryptocurrency "y" as a prize).

Staking rewards

How are rewards for cryptocurrency staking calculated? Several elements need to be analyzed in order to answer this question. Remember that a blockchain network is not uniform and therefore each part of it can use different methods for calculating rewards. Individual projects offer a variety of rewards. The factors that influence the rewards for staking are:

  • Time of active staking by validator
  • Amount of „frozen” coins
  • Inflation rate of assets
  • Total number of coins staked in the network

Interestingly, some networks reward staking using percentages. Such awards are given to validators as a form of compensation for inflation, which in turn encourages network users to spend coins rather than to store them. How much can You earn from this?

For example, staking of LUNA cryptocurrency offered users only 1,5% per year, and the pledged assets are subject to a 21-day unlock period. Another project that has generated greater interest was Cosmos (ATOM), which offered an annual return on investment of around 8%.

What is a staking pool?

The staking pool is a place where a group of individuals who possess given cryptocurrencies combine them with others to maximize the odds of being selected to review blocks and receive rewards funds (crypto holdings). Simply put, the staking pools are a place where group staking takes place. By combining stakes, users of a staking pool share rewards in proportion to their contribution.

Staking Pool

Both knowledge and time are necessary to create and maintain a staking pool. Such mining pools are most effective in networks where the entry threshold is sufficiently high. With this in mind, many pool suppliers charge fees on the prizes that the participants receive. Let us remember that there is a safeguard – a minimum balance is always required and is set up to deter malicious stakers.

A significant part of the staking pool requires a low, minimum balance, but this often does not go hand in hand with the extra time in which we could cash out. As a result, joining a pool rather than ‘playing solo’ can be an very attractive solution for those who are just starting to become involved in this form of making money.

What is cold staking?

Cold staking is a process in a wallet that runs without Internet access, just like the ‘cold wallet’. When you stake crypto coins, they are frozen in your wallet. If your wallet is connected to a blockchain network, it is called a hot wallet because it is connected to the internet and becomes vulnerable to attacks. The cold staking process can be done by, i.e using a hardware wallet. It is interesting to note that you can get this effect when when using an air gap wallet. The average reward you can expect with this method is around 2%.

Networks that support "cold staking" provide the opportunity to stake crypto while ensuring that your funds are safely stored offline, howerver it should be noted that this pertains only to users working in cold staking mode. If the stakeholder transfers their assets from their wallet, the reward will automatically be waived. Cold staking is a beneficial method for big players who not only wish to focus on protecting their assets as much as possible, but also want to support the network.

Which cryptocurrencies can be staked?

At present, half of the thousands of cryptocurrencies are based on the Proof of stake algorithm. The most popular of these are listed below:

  • XLM
  • DASH
  • NOW
  • NEO
  • BNB
  • ADA
  • ALGO
  • DOT
  • XLM
  • CELO
  • BTS
  • TRON
  • PIVX
  • NEBL

The DPoS consensus algorithm was developed by Daniel Larimer and the main cryptocurrencies that are based on this technology are:

  • TRX,
  • LUNA
  • EOS,
  • XTZ
  • ICX
  • LISK
  • BAND

Given that blockchain and cryptocurrencies are an extremely original and diverse ecosystem, it should be noted that cryptocurrencies have a high potential to become a stable source of income. Staking is a cheaper and simpler method than mining and the staking pool makes the investment process even easier. For this reason, it is useful to know the above-mentioned terms.

Why is crypto staking worthwhile? Because thanks to it crypto investors can obtain particular digital asset. Moreover, crypto staking is also worth looking into, as it builds passive income. It is also worth noting that anyone can stake cryptocurrency and thus acquire potentially more lucrative staking rewards than any bank deposit can offer – and all that at a low minimum amount. Crypto staking is currently one of the most interesting financial solutions in the new technologies sector.

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Token Engineering Process

Kajetan Olas

13 Apr 2024
Token Engineering Process

Token Engineering is an emerging field that addresses the systematic design and engineering of blockchain-based tokens. It applies rigorous mathematical methods from the Complex Systems Engineering discipline to tokenomics design.

In this article, we will walk through the Token Engineering Process and break it down into three key stages. Discovery Phase, Design Phase, and Deployment Phase.

Discovery Phase of Token Engineering Process

The first stage of the token engineering process is the Discovery Phase. It focuses on constructing high-level business plans, defining objectives, and identifying problems to be solved. That phase is also the time when token engineers first define key stakeholders in the project.

Defining the Problem

This may seem counterintuitive. Why would we start with the problem when designing tokenomics? Shouldn’t we start with more down-to-earth matters like token supply? The answer is No. Tokens are a medium for creating and exchanging value within a project’s ecosystem. Since crypto projects draw their value from solving problems that can’t be solved through TradFi mechanisms, their tokenomics should reflect that. 

The industry standard, developed by McKinsey & Co. and adapted to token engineering purposes by Outlier Ventures, is structuring the problem through a logic tree, following MECE.
MECE stands for Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive. Mutually Exclusive means that problems in the tree should not overlap. Collectively Exhaustive means that the tree should cover all issues.

In practice, the “Problem” should be replaced by a whole problem statement worksheet. The same will hold for some of the boxes.
A commonly used tool for designing these kinds of diagrams is the Miro whiteboard.

Identifying Stakeholders and Value Flows in Token Engineering

This part is about identifying all relevant actors in the ecosystem and how value flows between them. To illustrate what we mean let’s consider an example of NFT marketplace. In its case, relevant actors might be sellers, buyers, NFT creators, and a marketplace owner. Possible value flow when conducting a transaction might be: buyer gets rid of his tokens, seller gets some of them, marketplace owner gets some of them as fees, and NFT creators get some of them as royalties.

Incentive Mechanisms Canvas

The last part of what we consider to be in the Discovery Phase is filling the Incentive Mechanisms Canvas. After successfully identifying value flows in the previous stage, token engineers search for frictions to desired behaviors and point out the undesired behaviors. For example, friction to activity on an NFT marketplace might be respecting royalty fees by marketplace owners since it reduces value flowing to the seller.

source: https://www.canva.com/design/DAFDTNKsIJs/8Ky9EoJJI7p98qKLIu2XNw/view#7

Design Phase of Token Engineering Process

The second stage of the Token Engineering Process is the Design Phase in which you make use of high-level descriptions from the previous step to come up with a specific design of the project. This will include everything that can be usually found in crypto whitepapers (e.g. governance mechanisms, incentive mechanisms, token supply, etc). After finishing the design, token engineers should represent the whole value flow and transactional logic on detailed visual diagrams. These diagrams will be a basis for creating mathematical models in the Deployment Phase. 

Token Engineering Artonomous Design Diagram
Artonomous design diagram, source: Artonomous GitHub

Objective Function

Every crypto project has some objective. The objective can consist of many goals, such as decentralization or token price. The objective function is a mathematical function assigning weights to different factors that influence the main objective in the order of their importance. This function will be a reference for machine learning algorithms in the next steps. They will try to find quantitative parameters (e.g. network fees) that maximize the output of this function.
Modified Metcalfe’s Law can serve as an inspiration during that step. It’s a framework for valuing crypto projects, but we believe that after adjustments it can also be used in this context.

Deployment Phase of Token Engineering Process

The Deployment Phase is final, but also the most demanding step in the process. It involves the implementation of machine learning algorithms that test our assumptions and optimize quantitative parameters. Token Engineering draws from Nassim Taleb’s concept of Antifragility and extensively uses feedback loops to make a system that gains from arising shocks.

Agent-based Modelling 

In agent-based modeling, we describe a set of behaviors and goals displayed by each agent participating in the system (this is why previous steps focused so much on describing stakeholders). Each agent is controlled by an autonomous AI and continuously optimizes his strategy. He learns from his experience and can mimic the behavior of other agents if he finds it effective (Reinforced Learning). This approach allows for mimicking real users, who adapt their strategies with time. An example adaptive agent would be a cryptocurrency trader, who changes his trading strategy in response to experiencing a loss of money.

Monte Carlo Simulations

Token Engineers use the Monte Carlo method to simulate the consequences of various possible interactions while taking into account the probability of their occurrence. By running a large number of simulations it’s possible to stress-test the project in multiple scenarios and identify emergent risks.

Testnet Deployment

If possible, it's highly beneficial for projects to extend the testing phase even further by letting real users use the network. Idea is the same as in agent-based testing - continuous optimization based on provided metrics. Furthermore, in case the project considers airdropping its tokens, giving them to early users is a great strategy. Even though part of the activity will be disingenuine and airdrop-oriented, such strategy still works better than most.

Time Duration

Token engineering process may take from as little as 2 weeks to as much as 5 months. It depends on the project category (Layer 1 protocol will require more time, than a simple DApp), and security requirements. For example, a bank issuing its digital token will have a very low risk tolerance.

Required Skills for Token Engineering

Token engineering is a multidisciplinary field and requires a great amount of specialized knowledge. Key knowledge areas are:

  • Systems Engineering
  • Machine Learning
  • Market Research
  • Capital Markets
  • Current trends in Web3
  • Blockchain Engineering
  • Statistics

Summary

The token engineering process consists of 3 steps: Discovery Phase, Design Phase, and Deployment Phase. It’s utilized mostly by established blockchain projects, and financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund. Even though it’s a very resource-consuming process, we believe it’s worth it. Projects that went through scrupulous design and testing before launch are much more likely to receive VC funding and be in the 10% of crypto projects that survive the bear market. Going through that process also has a symbolic meaning - it shows that the project is long-term oriented.

If you're looking to create a robust tokenomics model and go through institutional-grade testing please reach out to contact@nextrope.com. Our team is ready to help you with the token engineering process and ensure your project’s resilience in the long term.

FAQ

What does token engineering process look like?

  • Token engineering process is conducted in a 3-step methodical fashion. This includes Discovery Phase, Design Phase, and Deployment Phase. Each of these stages should be tailored to the specific needs of a project.

Is token engineering meant only for big projects?

  • We recommend that even small projects go through a simplified design and optimization process. This increases community's trust and makes sure that the tokenomics doesn't have any obvious flaws.

How long does the token engineering process take?

  • It depends on the project and may range from 2 weeks to 5 months.

What is Berachain? 🐻 ⛓️ + Proof-of-Liquidity Explained

Karolina

18 Mar 2024
What is Berachain? 🐻 ⛓️ + Proof-of-Liquidity Explained

Enter Berachain: a high-performance, EVM-compatible blockchain that is set to redefine the landscape of decentralized applications (dApps) and blockchain services. Built on the innovative Proof-of-Liquidity consensus and leveraging the robust Polaris framework alongside the CometBFT consensus engine, Berachain is poised to offer an unprecedented blend of efficiency, security, and user-centric benefits. Let's dive into what makes it a groundbreaking development in the blockchain ecosystem.

What is Berachain?

Overview

Berachain is an EVM-compatible Layer 1 (L1) blockchain that stands out through its adoption of the Proof-of-Liquidity (PoL) consensus mechanism. Designed to address the critical challenges faced by decentralized networks. It introduces a cutting-edge approach to blockchain governance and operations.

Key Features

  • High-performance Capabilities. Berachain is engineered for speed and scalability, catering to the growing demand for efficient blockchain solutions.
  • EVM Compatibility. It supports all Ethereum tooling, operations, and smart contract languages, making it a seamless transition for developers and projects from the Ethereum ecosystem.
  • Proof-of-Liquidity.This novel consensus mechanism focuses on building liquidity, decentralizing stake, and aligning the interests of validators and protocol developers.

MUST READ: Docs

EVM-Compatible vs EVM-Equivalent

EVM-Compatible

EVM compatibility means a blockchain can interact with Ethereum's ecosystem to some extent. It can interact supporting its smart contracts and tools but not replicating the entire EVM environment.

EVM-Equivalent

An EVM-equivalent blockchain, on the other hand, aims to fully replicate Ethereum's environment. It ensures complete compatibility and a smooth transition for developers and users alike.

Berachain's Position

Berachain can be considered an "EVM-equivalent-plus" blockchain. It supports all Ethereum operations, tooling, and additional functionalities that optimize for its unique Proof-of-Liquidity and abstracted use cases.

Berachain Modular First Approach

At the heart of Berachain's development philosophy is the Polaris EVM framework. It's a testament to the blockchain's commitment to modularity and flexibility. This approach allows for the easy separation of the EVM runtime layer, ensuring that Berachain can adapt and evolve without compromising on performance or security.

Proof Of Liquidity Overview

High-Level Model Objectives

  • Systemically Build Liquidity. By enhancing trading efficiency, price stability, and network growth, Berachain aims to foster a thriving ecosystem of decentralized applications.
  • Solve Stake Centralization. The PoL consensus works to distribute stake more evenly across the network, preventing monopolization and ensuring a decentralized, secure blockchain.
  • Align Protocols and Validators. Berachain encourages a symbiotic relationship between validators and the broader protocol ecosystem.

Proof-of-Liquidity vs Proof-of-Stake

Unlike traditional Proof of Stake (PoS), which often leads to stake centralization and reduced liquidity, Proof of Liquidity (PoL) introduces mechanisms to incentivize liquidity provision and ensure a fairer, more decentralized network. Berachain separates the governance token (BGT) from the chain's gas token (BERA) and incentives liquidity through BEX pools. Berachain's PoL aims to overcome the limitations of PoS, fostering a more secure and user-centric blockchain.

Berachain EVM and Modular Approach

Polaris EVM

Polaris EVM is the cornerstone of Berachain's EVM compatibility, offering developers an enhanced environment for smart contract execution that includes stateful precompiles and custom modules. This framework ensures that Berachain not only meets but exceeds the capabilities of the traditional Ethereum Virtual Machine.

CometBFT

The CometBFT consensus engine underpins Berachain's network, providing a secure and efficient mechanism for transaction verification and block production. By leveraging the principles of Byzantine fault tolerance (BFT), CometBFT ensures the integrity and resilience of the Berachain blockchain.

Conclusion

Berachain represents a significant leap forward in blockchain technology, combining the best of Ethereum's ecosystem with innovative consensus mechanisms and a modular development approach. As the blockchain landscape continues to evolve, Berachain stands out as a promising platform for developers, users, and validators alike, offering a scalable, efficient, and inclusive environment for decentralized applications and services.

Resources

For those interested in exploring further, a wealth of resources is available, including the Berachain documentation, GitHub repository, and community forums. It offers a compelling vision for the future of blockchain technology, marked by efficiency, security, and community-driven innovation.

FAQ

How is Berachain different?

  • It integrates Proof-of-Liquidity to address stake centralization and enhance liquidity, setting it apart from other blockchains.

Is Berachain EVM-compatible?

  • Yes, it supports Ethereum's tooling and smart contract languages, facilitating easy migration of dApps.

Can it handle high transaction volumes?

  • Yes, thanks to the Polaris framework and CometBFT consensus engine, it's built for scalability and high throughput.